Ruby on Rails is nice. It’s really nice. For most of my web development, I would not hesitate to use it. There are some aspects of it that I really like, and you can read a lot of things written by many others, explaining why rails is nice.
The major problem is about scalability, and the way people see rails. It’s a young technology, and for those of us who have projects with certain demands, there is not much to do when it comes to choosing technology. For a large scale healthcare project that will use millions of records, I’d really like to use rails, but I know that it would be an adventure to talk about this in a meeting where there are people who will pay the money. Probably (actually most of the time. these days ) they will not be aware of ruby or rails, and when they hear that the project for which they will be paying will be built on a technology that they have never heard of, they will not be happy. The problem is not always about the technology, but also about the maturity of it, the brand of the technology. When you say Java or .NET, people do not usually object. Both of these technologies, especially Java has been a dependable, mature solution for quite some time.
The thing is, I want to use good features of rails, and be able to provide scalability and stability. There are many out there who claim that this is possible with rails, and I think it can be done after some work on rails setup. However, Sun Microsystems has been supporting JRuby for a while, which is a complete implementation of ruby language in Java. It is now at a point where you can run a rails application and deploy it to a J2EE application server. Now this is great news! Develop using the productivity enhancing aspects of rails, deploy on an industrial strength java application server. Along the way, you also have the option of using millions of Java components and libraries, which can be accessed by jruby.
If this initiative takes off, web development in enterprise shops will have a very strong option in the near future, next to existing ones. More to come on this one. For the impatient, this might be interesting.